The 5 States Of Prospect Awareness - And How To Market To Them

The 5 States Of Prospect Awareness - And How To Market To Them

All content takes time and energy to create. You’ll receive the best ROI from your content when you speak to an individual directly where they are, at each stage of the awareness journey.. Click To Tweet

The concept of "Prospect Awareness" in marketing came in 1966 when Eugene Schwartz published his book “Breakthrough Advertising.”

With access to billions of users through digital marketing channels that were not available in 1966, you can capitalize on these five states of prospect awareness more effectively now than any time before.

Understanding the different levels of prospect awareness will help you to sell your products and services more efficiently.

Whether you are focused on marketing through, Facebook advertising, social media marketing, AdWords, email marketing, all content you create takes money, time, and energy to create it.

You need to make sure you are focused on increasing your return on investment at every opportunity whether you are running paid advertising or you are publishing free content as content marketing.

When you speak to an individual directly where they are, at each stage of the awareness journey, your content will connect more readily and you will hook the user into your content more quickly, every time.

Prospect Awareness From Breakthrough Advertising

The 5 States Of Prospect Awareness - And How To Market To Them“Breakthrough Advertising” by Eugene Schwartz introduced five states of prospect awareness.

  1. Completely Unaware
  2. Problem-Aware
  3. Solution-Aware
  4. Product-Aware
  5. The Most Aware

Knowing which of the five states you are speaking to is the most logical and efficient way of marketing because you are able to meet your reader where they are.

This leaves your reader or viewer feeling like "Ahhh, they get me..." which increases your likeability in their view and gets them to consume more of your content.

Having different awareness levels of the problems or the solutions means you need to engage with users through different ads, headlines, content or educational material...

Your goal is always to help potential clients move to that next step of awareness, so you must know where they are starting!

Each step moves them closer and closer to becoming a customer.

When you do this right, you will become their trusted advisor, and once you're a trusted advisor, everything sells easier.

Below you will learn more about each of the different states of prospect awareness so you can connect with your viewers, readers and prospects more effectively.

Breakthrough Advertising State 1 - Prospect Completely Unaware

Prospect Completely Unaware

When the individual has no idea who you are and no idea what the problem or your solution is, they’re the coldest of cold prospects.

They don't even know that they have a problem.

At the completely unaware phase, they think everything is fine in their business or life right now; your solution is not on their radar.

Completely unaware prospects are the most challenging segment of an audience to reach, but also the most valuable market because it is the largest.

But this is not low-hanging fruit.

Completely unaware prospects take the most effort and energy because you need to move them through the different phases.

Let's use the golf industry, for example.

Most golfers don't realize that the game of golf and the action moving of the spine into a swing is terrible for the back.

Most people are entirely unaware of this: they know that they've got a slice, they've got a hook, they know that their friends are better than them and that's all they care about.

But do they know that the method of extending the spine, leaning forward and twisting is terrible for their back and can create significant back problems? No, most golfers do not.

This utterly unaware segment would be the largest segment of golfers.

There are solutions, but they have to accept that there is a problem before their interested in going down the sales funnel and purchasing any of them.

At this state, we could run an ad on Facebook targeting fans of Golf Magazine, to land on a well-researched, facts and statistics blog post educating prospects of the spine problems golfing produces.

Breakthrough Advertising State 2 - Prospect is Problem Aware

Prospect is Problem Aware

If somebody already knows about this problem, they are problem aware. They're researching.

It’s about knowing your product, identifying your target market and understanding what problems your target market faces.

Most people look to Google as their trusted confidant. So when people have problems, and they don't know what the solutions are yet, they turn to Google.

This is where keyword research, content marketing, blogging, and videos can be incredibly powerful.

You're able to help them understand more about the problem and introduce them to solutions to that problem.

Places like Quora and forums about golf are where people are asking these questions.

Find the questions, write blog posts or make videos answering them and you have prospects entering your funnel that are problem aware.

Breakthrough Advertising State 3 - Prospect is Solution Aware

Prospect is Solution Aware

Once you know you have a problem, you want to fix the problem.

It’s human nature.

So if a golfer realizes there’s the potential for hurting one's back or they've had some pains or stiffness -- what do they do? They go in search of a solution.

There are two ways you can approach marketing to this segment. If they've been to your website, they've read about the problems, and they've read some posts about the solutions, you can retarget them on Facebook with an offer for an opt-in.

If they went to your website to become solution aware, that's when you get to retarget to them.

Do more keyword research and go deeper into content marketing.

You can use keyword tools like the keyword finder and find the phrases people are looking for.

Then you can create videos, blog posts and multimedia posts that answer their question.

At the solution-aware phase, the user knows they've got a problem.

They've had the back issues, they've researched it: they're looking for the product that will give them the solution.

These people are getting warm: the credit card’s itching in their pocket because they've already accepted the idea that they’ve got a problem and there's a solution out there.

Education, Testing and Finding Your Marketing Strategy


Breakthrough Advertising's first three phases, is an education-based model using inbound marketing.

Testing will ultimately be the way you know what works for you.

If you're running pay-per-click ads for someone who's unaware or who's problem aware, you’ll want to run ads that drive them back to content on your website that’s helpful. You don't want to send them straight to a landing page.

Test if you're able to tap into a problem-aware market and get them to opt-in for a rate that works for you that’s cash-flow positive or break-even from the start.

If they're already problem aware, you need to help them understand exactly why that problem's happening so they can start to look for solutions -- you can't solve a problem that you haven't defined efficiently. So you have to help them identify the problem.

Once they’ve become solution aware, you're helping them realize there are solutions out there and you're educating them on those solutions.

If they've found you and didn't know about the problem, then they read your blog posts about the solutions and warmed up to you. Now when they go back to Facebook, they see your free offer with retargeting.

It's okay to give of yourself in those first phases to be that champion in your niche -- the hero for your product.

Not asking of them at this point, you're just helpful. Why?

Because people purchase from those they know, like and trust.

You're building trust through education.

Breakthrough Advertising State 4 - Prospect is Product Aware

Prospect is Product Aware

Here, prospects are looking for the available solutions to their problem.

Find those phrases in the keyword tool, then create blog posts, videos, images, and reviews of each solution or product.

You can talk about why they're great, why they're not and your affiliate links are in each post.

When prospects are product aware, you can run ads that will directly link them to a free offer and give them the solution that they want.

Then follow up with a one-time offer, bring them into your funnel and nurture them on your email list.

Another option that works here is to do reviews of products.

Using golf as the continued example: let's say there are 40 different products available that you can become an affiliate.

Buy them all and do unboxing videos for every single one of them.

Show how they work, do full product reviews for each of them, make the most detailed and beneficial blog posts on every single product out there. Make ultimate buying guides of the best 21 of them.

You're giving content that's going to help them understand which products are best for them. They haven't identified the exact one they want, but they know it’s out there.

When they try to figure out which option they want to buy, that’s a much warmer prospect: they're borderline hot.

They read your blog post that covers all of the options. Then, they click on your links and buy based on your recommendation. Why?

Because you made them aware of the problem and solution and you showed them the options.

You did your best to give of yourself honestly as to which option is best for them. You've done so in a way that has integrity.

You can even make a price comparison in your report or blog post and let them make the decision.

They'll feel like they were educated and found a great deal and you just made a commission.

Breakthrough Advertising State 5 - Prospect is Most Aware

Prospect is Most Aware

The most aware prospects know exactly what they want.

People who are searching for a specific brand or product name, and they're looking for a deal.

The most aware prospects could also be your customer list -- they’ve purchased from you before.

Or, they've been to your sales page, and maybe they clicked the “buy now” button, but they didn't complete the checkout.

They know what they want, but they stopped in the buying process. Why?

They are going to look for a coupon code or a better deal.

This is where retargeting them on Facebook with a coupon for a special offer or bonus.

There's no real sales copy needed in those kinds of situations.

Just an additional discount or bonus threw in with the purchase.

Prospect Awareness -- Marketing is Your Breakthrough

Marketing is Your Breakthrough

Through every single state of breakthrough marketing, your whole goal is to become the trusted adviser for this individual.

You need to be willing to give of yourself, to delay gratification and approach this from the standpoint of having their best interests in mind.

If you don't, they feel like you're always trying to sell them something.

Don't throw pitches at the end of each post, be in it for the long term, truly help them understand.

You have to give of yourself and give valuable information.

Everyone thinks they're special and when you help them understand the problem, the solutions, and the products, you enter the conversation in their mind, and at that point, they're ready to purchase from you.

Meet prospects in each state through the combination of organic search engine optimization, social media marketing, and digital advertising. A complete inbound marketing strategy.

Completely unaware prospects are the most challenging segment of an audience to reach, but also the most valuable market because it is the largest. Click To Tweet

If it sounds relatively simple, it is. But it's not easy: it is a lot of work.

You've got to research to understand who you're talking to and where they're at in each state.

Do they understand what the solution is? Are they only aware of the problem? Or does your prospect know what product they want?

You need to educate your prospects through each step. Completely Unaware, Problem Aware, Solution Aware, Product Aware, The Most Aware, and at that point, they're ready to purchase.

Prospects are going to go through those phases with you, or somewhere else.

Help them through those phases efficiently, keep integrity in the forefront of what you're doing, and and you my friend will have a successful online business.

About the Author Miles

Miles is a full time internet marketer who sells information products and a niche membership program with his wife, Melanie. Together they have created a lifestyle business that allows them true location independence and this blog where you get to see behind the scenes and see how they have built their online business from scratch.

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